Walls of silence and organized crime: a theoretical and empirical exploration into the shielding of criminal activities from authorities

Robert A. Roks*, Edwin W. Kruisbergen, Edward R. Kleemans

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In this article, we aim to further our understanding of the social embeddedness of organized crime by exploring the (possible) ways the social environment adds to the shielding of organized crime or criminal activities by organized crime groups. We argue that the metaphor of ‘walls of silence’ provides a fruitful way to examine the shielding of organized crime. Based on a theoretical and empirical exploration of 30 cases from the fifth data sweep of Dutch Organized Crime Monitor, we illustrate how organized crime offenders in the Netherlands depend on the silence and secrecy of co-offenders, victims, bystanders, and others who are aware of their (criminal) activities. Furthermore, we present a framework of the shielding of organized crime activities to provide insight into how offenders not only make use of the social environment to shield their activities, but also how the social environment can (purposely) act as walls of silence and secrecy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Organized Crime
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).

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